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August 11, 2015
4 EHR Strategies to Enhance Patient Satisfaction

In the not-too-distant pre-historic past, the patient would check in on paper. The physician would scramble to take notes by hand during the patient encounter, inevitably missing some details or writing some parts so illegibly that they required clarification later. The paper records would then be compiled and stored — taking up vast amounts of space — in a way that made sharing the records, finding specific information or cross-referencing difficult. What’s more, it was all too easy for parts of patient records to go missing entirely.

With all those drawbacks, the adoption of electronic health records (EHR) seems like a no-brainer. As of 2014, 83% of physicians were using EHRs, reaping the benefits of their lower long-term costs, more efficient storage, improved security and loss prevention, better informational access, and enhanced readability and accuracy.

However, despite all the positives, EHR can still get in the way of patient satisfaction. In fact, the No. 1 physician complaint about EHRs is that they worsen patient service by decreasing face-time with patients and interfering with physicians’ ability to see more patients. And, of the admittedly small proportion of physicians who aren’t using EHR, 40% say it’s because they interfere with the doctor/patient relationship.

These days, you can’t afford subpar patient satisfaction scores, so here are 4 ways to keep EHR from dragging down your patients’ happiness with care.

1. Focus on training

It’s never too late to spend time training physicians on EHR. Lean on the vendor — get them to come in and show hints and tips for more efficient use, and ask them to help you connect with other physicians using the same EHR version. Observe those other physicians in practice, discuss day-to-day solutions, and bring that knowledge back to the practice. Remember: Training doesn’t end just because the software has been installed. As with clinical care, ongoing education can help further refine and

2. Implement a human solution

Health IT is not the be-all, end-all. The human touch can never be fully replaced by technological solutions. “One of patients’ biggest let-downs would be when their doctor keeps glancing in between them and their screens,” writes one physician. “So if we are really serious about improving patient satisfaction and the health care experience, how can we let this situation go on?” Using scribes to record each patient encounter, capturing every detail in real time, restores that connection between doctor and patient. Instead of staring at a screen or looking distracted, scribes can do the administrative work, letting physicians both get the most information out of every encounter and increase patient satisfaction at the same time.

3. Pursue interoperablity

Make sure your EHR software interacts with other EHRs in your community so data-sharing is seamless; this has two key effects. First, interoperability will lead to transparency in medical data, prices and provider performance, all of which are helping drive the Department of Health and Human Services’ movement toward reimbursement for quality and effectiveness of care. Second, it means that patient records are easily transferred between and added to by other providers. The latter is critical to providing a hassle-free, satisfactory patient experience.

4. Relieve the administrative burden

recent study showed medical interns “now spend only around 10 percent of their day engaging in direct patient care in hospital and almost half their time with computers.” Scribes can input commonly used codes, and generate the operative/encounter note, eliminating a lot of work on the back end. Physicians should be spending their time seeing patients — which increases access to care (thereby increasing patient satisfaction) as well as potential revenue — then signing off paperwork they know is complete and correct. There’s no sense in applying all those years of medical training to administrative tasks over patient care.

EHR is just one tool in your patient-satisfaction arsenal. It’s important to remember to not pin all your hopes on its mere implementation and use. Instead, maximize EHR’s potential benefits — and minimize its drawbacks — with these four strategies.

Care Navigators
As healthcare business models evolve, so should care teams.

Patients who are paired with Care Navigators report feeling less anxiety, and an increased ability to self-manage their conditions between visits. And providers report increased job satisfaction from improved efficiency, and knowing their patients have access to care teams, and strategic support.

Chronic Care Management
With an increased aging population managing two or more chronic illnesses, extending your care teams’ ability to communicate with patients is critical. We take a strategic approach to helping patients chart a path towards their health goals, while self-managing their chronic conditions between clinical visits.

Artificial Intelligence
Our advanced AI solutions tackle complex documentation challenges to reduce the administrative burden preventing doctors from delivering precision care. We'll guide you through the best practices for incorporating AI into your workflow. Gain visibility into your data with enhanced analytics driven by AI and CTAs.

Nurse Care Team Assistants
Adding a qualified Nurse CTA to the care team increases quality of work-life and reduces stress on nurses. The nursing profession is also experiencing an alarming shortage due to increased clerical burdens and burnout.

Scribe Services
There’s a reason why we’re the nation’s most frequently used scribe company: we offer professionally trained in-person and virtual medical scribes to meet the specific needs of our clients. We offer a variety of scribe programs, as well as technology and personnel solutions that address revenue cycle management, the transition to value-based care, and more through our HealthChannels family of companies.